December 8, 2020
Why we are in a "circuit breaker"?
We've now had a series of COVID-19 cases that cannot be traced to a source and CPHO is undergoing contract tracing/testing to determine how far spread happening through a what is a significant cohort of close contacts.
Essentially, this is a modified version of public health's "yellow" zone. The hope is with some targeted measures for two weeks, we can stay away from a wide spread shut down.
What this means for operations?
The most significant measures involve the closure of recreational facilities and in-room dining at restaurants. Retail operations are asked to reduce to 50% of their capacity. I have asked CPHO for clarity on the "50% of what" question and will share once I have.
CPHO has also asked those between the ages of 20-29 in the capital area to get tested this week even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. If experiencing any symptoms, even mild ones, testing should be an immediate priority and self-isolate while awaiting results.
Masking, hand washing, and physical distancing should all continue and there are also some updated measures around gathering.
More will be online tonight and we are assured web forms can be live by Thursday to handle applications. Will forward links as they become available.
1. Emergency Payment for workers- For any workers or self-employed individuals who have either completely lost their income or have had their hours reduced by at least 12 hours/week for December 7-21 directly due to the public health order. This is an employee application and we will aim to turnaround payments within a week. In addition, most should be eligible for one of the federal income support programs available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html
2. Employee Gift Card program- this is a repeat of a program we ran in the Spring to provide $100 grocery cards for workers laid off due to the recent public health order (December 7-21). This is an employer application as that was a feature employers seemed to like last time.
3. E-commerce supports- We do have an existing program through Innovation PEI to assist companies with setting up e-commerce sites which was recently increased to provide 50% up to $2,500 for ecommerce sites (50% to $1,000 for traditional websites) https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/apply-web-presence-assistance. Innovation PEI staff will prioritize processing of these claims at this time to support any businesses pivoting due to COVID restrictions. If/when new COVID response programs are added, we may need to shift towards prioritizing those programs.
As I shared earlier and my minister stated publicly today, we will also be looking at what targeted supports we may be able to put in place to support those shut down because of the public health measures. We will share more later on this week.
Those businesses closed under public health order are eligible for a "lockdown" top-up on any federal rent assistance: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html
Other federal programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) https://ceba-cuec.ca/ are also available.
Thanks for all you are doing to support our local businesses and industries at this time. I know all of us are hoping this wave passes quickly and we are able to get back to our "new normal" again soon. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Department of Economic Growth, Tourism & Culture